What is Advocacy?
Advocacy is the deliberate process of influencing those who make decisions.
What would happen if all of the school nurses across the state decided to spend some time introducing themselves to their state senators and representatives? Is NOW the time to take action; to speak up and be heard?
How to prepare for a visit with a legislator:
- Identify your legislators;
- Visit legislator websites;
- Contact the local office to request an appointment;
- Invest in business cards and bring them with you;
- Dress for the occasion and bring just what you need for the visit when you go to the office;
- Introduce yourself, shake hands, make eye contact, and smile!;
- Explain who you are, describe your role and responsibilities; include the number of schools and students you serve; and
- Thank the senator or representative by name for having the courage to be a public office holder and for the service they provide to your community.
Key points to consider:
- Make the connection between you and school nurses across the state of Florida.
- Keep to the point; concentrate on one issue. The principles of policy; those that affect school nurses, schools and students.
- Consider preparing a one-page fact sheet.
- Share a personal story; one that had a direct effect on the health of a student; improved academic outcome.
- Be concise and to the point; 2 - 3 minutes, or one paragraph.
- You do not need to provide many details but let them know you are an expert and they can contact you for more information.
- Never attack; always attract. Be positive and persuasive. Remember that nurses are seen as trusted professionals.
Consider resources such as the local superintendent, school board, and school health advisory committee (SHAC).
And don't forget the media – a very powerful tool!
If you prefer not to schedule a face-to-face visit – USE SOCIAL MEDIA! - Email, Facebook and Twitter are other means of communication available to you. Just remember that the personal visit has the most influence!
NASN has many advocacy tools and resources. Go to the NASN website to access resources on:
- The Affordable Care Act;
- The Every Student Succeeds Act;
- NASN Legislative Priorities;
- National School Nurse Day;
- Professional Practice Documents including Position Statements;
- White Papers;
- Fact Sheets; and
- Other tools for telling your story.